New Build - Five String single cutaway fretless

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Jisch, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. I am probably still months from starting this build, but a tsunami of pieces got delivered today so I figured I'd post up what I got so far:

    Fingerboard material (cocobolo), neck stringer (cherry), body laminate (walnut) and blue truss rod:

    Neck stringers (tiger maple):

    Not shown body wood: mahogany, top cap: bookmatch tiger ash, back cap: bookmatch quilted maple.

    I should get the rest of the hardware from Carvin (tuners, nut, strings, straplocks) and Ebay (bridge) in the coming week or so. I think after that the only thing I'm missing is pickups (Alumitone), but I'll get those later.

    I don't have a lot figured out as far as design goes. I am aiming for a retro-modern look, I'm bouncing around a lot of ideas but nothing fully decided yet.
  2. Single cut 5 string fretless?

    Instant recipe for success, my favourite kind of bass! :D
    El Spearo likes this.
  3. I am trying to expand my boundaries with every build, new to me on this one: single cutaway and epoxied fretboard (so I can run round wound strings).
  4. You can use round wounds on ebony boards, I would only use epoxy for the subtle difference in sound. Love single cuts though :)
  5. This board is cocobolo, I am always reluctant to put round wounds on a fretless, maybe I'm being paranoid.
  6. It depends on how hard the cocobolo is. If it's not dissimilar to a typical piece of ebony, I wouldn't bother epoxying
  7. I can build without epoxy and, if it starts marking up, do it later. It seems to be very hard wood based on holding it. It's certainly not as dense as ebony, but it feels really hard (and brittle I suspect).
    josiah goldfish likes this.
  8. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Do yourself a favor and wear gloves, long sleeves and a mask while sanding, cutting or routing that cocobolo. I am highly sensitive to it, you might be as well, and its not fun if you are.
    josiah goldfish likes this.
  9. Thanks for the warning, this is my first time working with it. It looks beautiful, I haven't figured out how I'm going to cut it just yet, or if I'm going to put fret markers all the way across or just on the bass side. We'll see.
  10. Here are my options for the fretboard using the cocobolo:

    Completely normal (i.e. don't show any sap wood) This makes no sense to me as I have this contrast and I think I should use it:

    And variations on showing sap wood - and of course I can flip the board and get these in the opposite side and/or direction:
    Barely dipping:

    Half and half:

    The "wave" (this one is leading right in my mind right now):

    One more (this is a contender too):
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
    Dug2 and scottyd like this.
  11. lbridenstine


    Jun 25, 2012
    I like the wave!
    Jisch likes this.
  12. El Spearo

    El Spearo

    Jun 12, 2012
    Wellington, NZ
    Another vote for the wave
    Jisch likes this.
  13. TheJoshinator


    Sep 23, 2012
    Make that three. Looks most interesting!
    Jisch likes this.
  14. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    Wave ftw. Definitely.
    Jisch likes this.
  15. I know this thread has been dormant for a while. I got the five piece neck glued up today, I forgot to take pictures, I'll get some up tomorrow.

    I'm working with my wife on the design, here's where I am right now. I think I will be using a mix of walnut and maple for the slats, what mix and what order is still to be determined. I'll cut them out, then make some decisions. I was going to do a single cut, but now I'm rethinking that. I will probably chamber it a bit as well to keep the weight down. That last four is super light, so nice.


    I'd love to hear some opinions on the upper horn touching the neck like this.
    Will_White likes this.
  16. Wow, did I use a lot of glue, so glad I bought a new bottle for my dad right before doing this, it looks like I need to buy another one :-D.

    edit: the neck is cherry, maple, walnut laminate, maple, cherry.

    I hand planed off as much glue as I could then I ran it through the sanding planer on all four sides:

    End grains

    The glue up looks good, I need to spend some time with my wife to figure out the pattern of the slats for the body and figure out the orientation and layout of the neck itself.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
    Will_White likes this.
  17. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    I like that, it retains the single-cutness without it looking like other single cuts, I think the lower horn needs to be smaller maybe, it doesn't jive the way it is now.
  18. Thanks! Agreed on the lower horn (someone else pointed that out to me too).
  19. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Looking good-
    I like the 'wave', also, and that should leave enough for a 'swell' on another one.

    To my eye, the 'scroll' detracts from the 'wave'- should be open somehow above it to allow the wave to flow.
    Or a matching 'wave' upper bout shape to accent it?

    Very nice choice of woods to work with.
  20. Incorporating the wave into the upper horn is a great idea, I'll have to mess around with that. I hadn't even considered it.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 29, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.